We have major concerns with the Queensland Government’s proposed changes to the 2022 National Construction Code, particularly around accessible housing and energy efficiency.
We’ve been part of the conversation about changes to both of these sectors for many years. Over the course of this year, it’s become clear that these changes will finally come to fruition and be implemented as part of the 2022 National Construction Code (NCC).
The state government has confirmed its intention to adopt the changes and is now looking to push through these substantial amendments, without addressing some very real concerns which will impact home buyers and the building industry.
Whether it be accessibility changes that will provide benefits for the elderly or people with disabilities, or energy efficiency changes that will ensure we have sustainable housing stock into the future, it’s crystal clear that future provisions are vital.
But, if the unintended consequences of these changes aren’t recognised and addressed, and the transition isn’t handled properly, there’s a danger those who are meant to benefit from the updated code will simply miss out on the help they need.
In addition to this, the proposed changes will ultimately drive up costs for both builders and consumers. To this end, we also need to ensure the outcomes are fair and practical for Aussie homebuyers, who are already struggling with housing affordability, and record low rental vacancy rates and social housing availability. The builders and tradies who deliver new homes for our communities will also be negatively impacted.
If the changes are going to have the desired impact and genuinely benefit those who need them, we need more clarity, and more time to transition.
Generally, we don’t support regulation that adversely impacts housing affordability, challenges good design or puts productivity at risk. Despite this, we have supported accessible housing changes in principle, although, our mantra has always been that these measures should be achieved via non-mandatory measures, rather than regulation.
The changes proposed as part of the NCC 2022 will not only have a significant impact on the cost of a new home. The details that have been provided to date have significant gaps and shortcomings and miss the mark when it comes to delivering practical and workable regulations.
We’ve also put the spotlight on the need for clear and precise definitions, the allowance of tolerances for on-site variables and ensuring builders have the flexibility to exclude costs from their building contracts.
For this to really work, we need a transition period of at least three years. This would give builders the time they need to adjust their constructed sales product, and exemptions for a variety of scenarios that would otherwise be impossible to implement.
Turning to energy efficiency, the proposed changes will mean all new houses will be forced to meet 7-star requirements, having a significant impact on the cost to build. The overhaul will include higher glazing requirements, increased ceiling and wall insulation, stricter rules around heating and air-conditioning, plus hot water systems – all which will mean homebuyers ultimately foot the bill.
We’ve recently launched a campaign calling on the government to ensure that they listen to our feedback and make certain there are as few unintended consequences as possible when the 2022 NCC is introduced.
As the old building saying goes, we need to measure twice, cut once.
To learn more about Master Builders’ concerns about NCC 2022, visit mbqld.com.au/measuretwice